There are a lot of things we can do to help ourselves get a good night's rest; from yoga, to sticking to a bedtime routine and cutting back on screen-time.
Reader's Digest has come out with a great list of foods that help our brains to slip into sleep. The naturally occurring substances in these foods help to produce melatonin and serotonin - chemicals in our brains that regulate sleep cycles.
Try incorporating one of a few of these foods into your before bedtime snack routine and help your brain switch to sleep mode.
Turkey and Elk
According to Reader's Digest, Elk has almost double the amount of tryptophan - an amino acid that is needed to produce serotonin in the brain. Combine a tasty Elk patty with a crispy bun to elevate the absorption of all those amino acids. You'll be feeling dozy in no time!
Even vegetarians and vegans can get a healthy dose of tryptophan with tofu. It can be substituted for just about any protein and works just as well combined with rice. Carbohydrates help our bodies to absorb tryptophan, so pick a variety with a high Glycemic index like jasmine rice.
Nuts or Seeds - Especially Walnuts
Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of tryptophan - choose whichever ones you like the best, because they all contain that amino acid for sleep. Eating a handful of nuts a day can reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems.
Walnuts pack a bonus punch: they are their own source of melatonin. Try mixing them into a lamb and rice pilaf with yogurt.
Dairy - Especially Cheese
I am so happy cheese made the list - I bet you are too! Cheese and other dairy products contain calcium, which helps our brains to use tryptophan also found in dairy to create melatonin.
If you can't do dairy - try okra, broccoli, bok choy, and other dark leafy greens, they contain calcium too!
Yes, even salads make you sleepy! According to Reader's Digest, lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium. Try some fish tacos with lettuce instead of flatbread - or, add the flatbread because you know the carbs will soak up that tryptophan!
Ever wonder why you get the sleepies after sushi? Fish is high in Vitamin B6, which your body needs to make melatonin and serotonin! Think about what else was also in your meal : carbohydrate-rich rice, and high calcium bok choy.
According to the article, Reader's Digest suggests a glass of tart cherry juice before bed to boost levels of melatonin. Just don't forget to brush your teeth!
In my humble opinion, this is probably the best before bed snack. Growing up, by brothers and I were allowed to have a bowl of cornflakes with milk - our mother must have known that the calcium-carb combination would knock us out!
Chamomile or Passion Fruit Tea
Harman alkaloids in passion fruit work on your nervous system to make you tired - have a sip of this fruity tea about an hour before bed to help you sleep. You could also try Chamomile tea, it has glycine that acts like a mild sedative and relaxes nerves and muscles.
Mix in a little honey for both a sweet taste slightly and a boost of insulin. It will help tryptophan to enter the brain more easily and sooth you to sleep.
Let us know what works for you in the comments below! Do you have any bedtime tricks for sleep? Don't forget to Like & Share!